Eric Evans

Eric Evans MBE
Captain of England RUFC

Audenshaw has now joined the other towns in Tameside with a statue dedicated to a local hero. The Council chose Eric Evans, the former England Rugby Union Captain and hooker as the figure for Audenshaw. The statue shows Eric, ball in hand, no doubt going for the line with a defender locked round his ankles. The details are excellent, I particularly admire the boots, true 1950 boots with knocked in studs and loose fitting shirts. Rugby today is very different than when Eric was at his peak, he was skilled as a forward in dribbling the rugby ball, never seen today, wing three quarters threw the ball in to the lineouts, you could kick for touch anywhere on the field, a try was three points and a drop goal four. Eric was about five foot nine inches; today’s hookers can be six foot three and seventeen stones.
The statue was designed by the Cornish sculptor Peter Walker and cast in bronze by Castle Fine Arts of Oswestry. It is approximately 1.5 times life size.
The statue was purchased by Tameside MBC for £50,000 on a fixed price contract with Castle Fine Arts, which  included the designer’s fee, the costs of moulding, transport and erection.

Eric Evans was educated at Audenshaw Grammar School where he learned the game, and played for what was then the Old Aldwinians RUFC before the war, after which he joined Sale RUFC, going on to be chosen for Lancashire and England. He captained England thirteen times and was the oldest man to captain an England side. One of his former England team mates Chris Winn has commented that Eric Evans would give a dressing-room talk, but we couldn't understand a word he was saying because he had no teeth, he must have got the message since he went on to score the winning try against Wales that day at Twickenham.

The ceremony to unveil the statue which is situated on Manchester Road was on the afternoon of 30 January and was lead by Councillor Lane, who welcomed the numerous Councillors in attendance. She also welcomed Mr Des Pastore of Sale RUFC who played with Eric, and although now ninety four years young looked remarkably fit, that’s rugby for you.

Councillor Oldham spoke of Tameside Council’s wish to have more statues throughout the Borough before a red covering sheet was removed by six young rugby players to reveal the statue.

Audenshaw Grammar School Rugby Team 1935
Eric Evans is third from the left front row